Marketing is a hassle, especially for designers. Usually we like to focus more on the design part of our business and less on the business part. We don’t particularly enjoy marketing tasks, but we are forced to do it or we won’t gain clients.
What if I told you there was an easy marketing tactic to get repeat business?
You would probably say I’m crazy, but I’m not.
Several businesses have been using referrals to generate consistent clients and it’s easier than most people think. Use these tips below to create a referral-based business.
If you have any other tips you want to add, I’d love to read and respond to your comments.
Asking clients is one of the easiest ways to get a referral. There is always a high chance that they can refer somebody to you, and if not, they will remember your name if they know somebody who could use your services.
- Ask before the start of a project – “Before we start, do you have any friends or family that could benefit from my services?”
- Ask at the end of a project – “Thank you using me to help your business. Do you know anybody else that I can help?”
- Ask former clients – Before asking for a referral, talk with the client first and ask how their business is going. Then you can ask “Is there anybody you know that would benefit from my services like you did?”
Another way to get referrals is to offer incentives to clients if they refer people to you. Fortunately, society loves to be rewarded in some way, so this technique can be very effective.
- Give money – If they refer a client to you, offer to give a set amount or percentage of the money you will be making. Money is one of the best incentives to get people to do what you want, so if you can afford it, take advantage of it.
- Offer discounts – An alternative way would be to offer discounts for your service. If a former or present client refers a person to you, give them a discount code. My suggestion is if this client brings in more than just one referral, you can give them bigger discounts.
- Be creative – If neither of those ideas work for you, think of something else to offer. You can offer them free consultation, free tools to help manage their business, and whatever else you can think. As long as the incentive is appealing to your client, it will work.
Use Your Business Cards
Lastly, take advantage of your business cards. They can be your greatest tool in getting referrals. If you don’t have a sweet set of business cards, get some at UPrinting.com.
- Send a few to former clients – Take the time to mail or give former clients a few of your business cards. Let them know you want them handed out and add a thank you note in there. As long as you’re friendly about it, your former clients will hand them out and remember your name.
- Give extras to current clients – When you meet up with your current clients, give extras to them and also ask them to hand them out to anybody who could use your services. The client will hold on to them and hand them out to people telling them how satisfied they were with your services.
- Hand them out to everybody you know – Why not take advantage of your connections? Hand your business cards out to family, friends, professors, coworkers, or anybody you talk with; tell them to refer people they know to you. The more people who see your card, the better chance of them referring somebody to you.
What tips do you have for getting referrals?
Have these tips worked for you? Share your thoughts in the comments and discuss with me and other fellow designers about referral marketing. Go on, don’t be shy now.